Who is the only person who could nail the Democratic nomination for president if Hillary Rodham Clinton falters? According to USA Today columnist Michael Wolff, it’s not declared candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont or about-to-declare former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley or progressive champion Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Nobody has the cash — which Wolff pegs at close to $2 billion — that would be required to mount a competitive race except for one potential candidate who been down the “will he or won’t he?” road before: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Wolff calls the self-made billionaire the obvious and only alternative because of his money, first and foremost, but also because of his “progressive social conscience with pro-growth-economic views.”
Of course, there is no reason to take Wolff seriously. Since leaving City Hall, Bloomberg has been busy reestablishing his direct control over Bloomberg L.P., the financial data and media behemoth he founded, and he hasn’t even offered a tease about possibly running.
But this morning, the Wolff column was tweeted out by Kevin Sheekey, who managed Bloomberg’s three winning campaigns for mayor. Sheekey, a former deputy mayor, is currently head of government relations and communications at Bloomberg.
“Next February say, if the sky falls in on Hillary — one or more of the storm-cloud scenarios breaking over her head — would Michael Bloomberg step up?” Wolff asks.
Kevin Sheekey probably knows the answer.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”